Hertfordshire County Council celebrates Meals on Wheels Week
Meals on Wheels Week celebrates Meals on Wheels services across the country
The leader of Hertfordshire County Council has been out helping to deliver nutritious meals to residents as part of national Meals on Wheels Week (1-5 November).
Meals on Wheels Week celebrates Meals on Wheels services across the country and the vital role they play in supporting older and vulnerable people living in our communities.
The visit was an opportunity to showcase the vital service provided by Hertfordshire Independent Living Service (HILS), who provide meal deliveries and much more, as a lifeline to thousands of older and vulnerable people in the county.
The council leader joined the HILS team in Letchworth to first see how the meals on wheels and Nutrition and Wellbeing teams ensure that meals meet the nutritional needs of every client.
He then headed out with one of the Site Team Leaders, Davina Riste, to Hitchin where he met 101-year-old John Daniels who has been receiving meals on wheels from HILS since 2014.
John has also benefitted from HILS’ Active Ageing service – a free 12-week in-home exercise programme, that aims to improve mobility and reduce falls amongst older people in Hertfordshire.
Cllr Roberts said: “It was a privilege to join the dedicated HILS team on their rounds and see just what a fantastic job they are doing in supporting our residents with warming food and vital nutrition.
“Mr Daniels is a great example of why this service is not just about a meal; the visits help to reduce loneliness, improve people’s health and help them to maintain their independence – all of which are essential in ensuring our residents can live happy and healthy lives.
“All of our frontline meals-on-wheels teams have continued to work tirelessly under the challenging circumstances of the pandemic and beyond.
"Meals on Wheels Week is a timely opportunity to celebrate all they have done and I would like to issue my heartfelt thanks to them all for providing this crucial support.”
Sarah Wren, Chief Executive of HILS, said: “Good, nutritious food and a visit from a caring individual is crucial for every one of us. We are so fortunate in Hertfordshire that the benefit of a 365-day meals service provided to thousands of residents is recognised and supported by Hertfordshire County Council and Public Health Hertfordshire.
“At HILS, we recognise there are a number of factors that negatively impact the independence of our older community. By helping them to maintain and even improve their mobility, we support their health and wellbeing.”
As well as providing nutritious meals, the service provides essential regular contact and welfare checks that support residents’ overall wellbeing and reduce isolation and loneliness.
This vital service also helps to ease pressure on other services by reducing visits to GPs, hospitals, and the number of people going into care.
Adult Care Services Director, Chris Badger said: "It was great to visit HILS and to thank the team for their amazing work during the last 18 months supporting people in Hertfordshire.
"They have been a lifeline, both in terms of meals and food, but also keeping an eye out and offering wider support for people who are shielding.
"I was really struck by the dedication and bravery of the team. We are really fortunate to have HILS in Hertfordshire, as they are a key plank of our Social Care System."
In February 2020, HILS celebrated winning a new service contract with Hertfordshire County Council to deliver half a million hot dinners to residents per year.
In the last year, HILS delivered almost 543,500 meals to individuals and lunch clubs. In addition to delivering hot meals, HILS provided around 87,000 tea and breakfast packs to clients and social groups. During the pandemic, HILS stepped in to support homeless shelters with meals.
Sarah Wren, Chief Executive of HILS, said: “It has been such a pleasure to be able to invite people to join our dedicated meals on wheels teams and meet our clients once again.
"It has been a challenging couple of years for our clients, their loved ones, and everyone who has been working so hard to support them.
"Meals on Wheels Week has been a great time to raise awareness and celebrate the impact and importance of the service on older and vulnerable people."
The campaign also recognises the added value that meals on wheels services, such as that delivered by HILS, provides to vulnerable people, including regular social contact, wellness checks and the reassurance that comes from knowing that someone will be checking in on you, and peace of mind for carers and family members who also benefit from knowing that their
loved one is receiving extra support.